A First: Samsung to produce transparent, no-backlight 22″ HDTV LCD soon

April 1, 2011 by  
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This we’re getting from a trusted source and blog Engadget is also reporting this: Samsung is about ready to produce a breakthrough product that could be the first in a wave of “transparent” HDTV LCD monitors with very high resolution and low power requirements. Read on:

They said they would do it, and by golly it’s nearly here — Samsung just revealed that its assembly lines are starting to churn out see-thru computer screens that don’t require power-sucking backlights to function. Unfortunately, it looks like the amazing AMOLED variety is still on the drawing board, but ambient light-powered LCDs are on the way, with Samsung offering a 22-inch, 1680 x 1050 resolution panel with a 500:1 contrast ratio to begin with. Sammy suggests we’ll see it in HDMI and USB-compatible monitors and suspects it’ll be used in advertising and teleconferencing first — which suggests this display won’t come cheap.

Price and exact availability aren’t out yet, but we’re thinking late this year/early next as an estimate.

Mitsubishi changing course: No more LCDs?

March 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News, Mitsubishi, TV Brands

All things must end, but some things make more sense when they end, and this is just such a case: Mitsubishi, knowing their focus on LCDs was based on losing ground at a fairly steady pace, has abandoned the LCD market for their huge projection TVs they’re known for, along with some downsizing of their TV operations. See this excerpt from Engadget:

That we didn’t spot a successor to Mitsubishi’s well-received line of Unisen LCD HDTVs at CES 2011 should have been a signal, but now the company has made it official — it is downsizing TV operations, closing some offices and leaving the LCD TV business entirely. As the only company still selling rear projection sets to consumers, a letter from senior VP Cayce Blanchard (included after the break) indicates the plan is to focus on selling DLP and Laservue TVs in sizes above 73-inches where its flat panel competitors rarely reach.

We like the fact they’re focusing a bit more, it should help them dominate the huge rear projection market they’re shooting for pretty easily.

Real Life: Toshiba and Hitachi plants damaged by quake, will shut down for a month

March 19, 2011 by  
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Yes, we discuss the joys of HDTV on our articles here, but every so often, real life intervenes, and such is the case here after the massive 9.0 quake in China apparently damaged some plants the produce some of the marvelous LCD screens we marvel at every day.

It appears Toshiba and Hitachi assembly lines will shut down for a month or so to deal with ‘damages’ cause by the quake and following tsunami that recently ravaged China, the hub of operations for many of our HDTV producing friends. No firm estimates have been given for full operations to resume for either company.

Who knows if this will affect supplies of HDTV screens in the near future, but some mild shortages are likely according to a number of blogs and sources, but that’s the least of the problems facing that country we suppose, in the big scheme of things.

Early Party: Vizio celebrates its reign as LCD champ?

February 23, 2011 by  
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All of the numbers are not in, but early indications are that Vizio is once again the HDTV sales champion for last year, 2010. It’s the first place sales king for LCD’s, and no real surprise: their presence in Wal-Mart, low prices and decent technology have allowed it to ascend fairly easily, in reality. Read on:

Industry analysts will reveal all the numbers later this week but according to Vizio its LCD HDTVs have outsold all others, again. Specifically, it has again rated as the #1 seller of LCDs in North America according to DisplaySearch and #1 seller of LCDs in the US according to iSuppli by carving out a 27.6% share of the market, the largest for any seller since 2004.

Among some of us in the home theater community there’s still, deserved or undeserved, a perception of the company as simply a cheap, low end manufacturer that’s not as reliable as others but with results like these it looks like the rest of the market will be the ones with something to prove in 2011.

Our early gut feeling tells us 2011 won’t be that different really, as Vizio’s solid quality/low price combo continues to dominate the marketplace in sheer units moved.

First Time For Everything: LCD shipments to decline for first time ever

December 13, 2010 by  
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No, it isn’t the end of the world, just a sign of the times: According to iSuppli, a shipping research firm, shipments of LCD HDTVs in the U.S. will drop for the first time ever, and this is confirmed by The Wall Street Journal.

iSuppli states that LCD shipments this year will be 31.9 million TVs, a 1.2 percent drop from 2009. The reasons are obvious: The economic troubles and a slightly slower drop in prices than originally expected.

In other interesting notes, iSuppli also indicates that Plasma makers have done a much more effective job of communicating the benefits of their hardware versus the LCD makers, which we sort of agree with. Many inside analysts think Plasma offers a better picture than LCD overall. That’s subjective of course, but even so, many critics also feel the same way as a whole.

But the Wall Street Journal states: LCD’s recession “represents a shocking reversal for a U.S. LCD TV market that has expanded robustly during every year since volume shipments commenced in 2006.” But iSuppli thinks that LCD will rebound in 2011, when the economy improves, which we also agree with.

Fancy Techy News: Hybrid FPA tech developed by Sony to make LCDs look better

December 3, 2010 by  
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Technology in the world of LCD and HDTV enetertainment is always marching forward, and in this case, Sony has come up with some pretty fancy light footwork to make the LCD experience even better. Courtesy of Engadget, here’s the lowdown:

Sony has announced a new LCD display technology called Hybrid FPA (field-induced photo-reactive alignment), which it claims provides a bevy of improvements for LCDs in the areas of response time, contrast, panel stability, and production speed. For those of you who slept through display science in school (no shame), this boils down to Sony finding a better way to wrangle unruly liquid crystal molecules (LCMs) into more optimal alignments — which is important since this affects how light passes and therefore how images are resolved. The new technique builds on earlier work, which focused on the vertical alignment of LCMs via an alignment layer. As the left diagram shows, through pre-tilt positioning at the substrate layer, LCMs were forced into a more stable vertical state, which made shifting them quicker and more precise while requiring less voltage. In other words, images resolved faster and more evenly, resulting in “cleaner” whites and blacks with less motion blur. Hybrid FPA simply improves the situation by aligning LCMs even more vertically, which produced response times of less than 3ms in tests.

No word when this tech will be available, but hey, it all sounds great if you’re a 3D HD lover.

Price Plunge: Analysts predicting $199 32″ LCD TVs?

November 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

It appears the deep price cuts we reported awhile back expected for HDTV LCD units are coming sooner than we thought: this holiday season, to be precise.

Many analysts who study pricing trends and patterns are making many educated (and slightly scary) guesses about where prices will drop to this Black Friday and Christmas season: for example, 32″ LCD HDTVs may drop as low as $199 at some stores, which is an unheard of price point for TVs of that size. A 40-inch LCD HDTV for just $298? Recently leaked Target BF sale literature shows just that being available.

The reason, you may ask? Retailers and TV manufacturers are anxious to clear their inventory, particularly with reports that there is a huge amount of unsold LCD panels on the worldwide market, just sitting there with few buyers. So their loss can definitely be your gain this holiday season.

Thinnest Ever (Again): LG grabs thinnest bezel title with new 37″ unit

November 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, Product News, TV Brands

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LG seems to be on a ‘thinnest ever’ LCD HDTV title quest lately, we’ve noticed, and they’re at it again with their latest announced release.

Samsung grabbed the title last month with its 55-inch Display, but today LG is moving ahead of Sammy with a nearly nonexistent frame around its new 37-inch LCD unit that’s guaranteed to turn a few heads, especially as it migrates to larger screens in their line.

Here’s the stats: There’s 2.5mm of bezel on the bottom and right side of the screen, and 1.5mm on the top and left sides, resulting in a microscopic 4mm (0.16 inches) of separation, which is about as small as it can get and still actually have a bezel present.

We appreciate the race to slickness, but now its getting a little silly in our opinion. Thinner doesn’t always equal better, with people or HDTVs.

Fall Of a Different Kind: LCD TV prices expected to drop soon

September 29, 2010 by  
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Looks like we may have jumped the gun a bit on the prices of LCD TVs. Flat-screen LCD HDTV prices are expected to drop at least five percent in the next few weeks, says DisplaySearch, as reported by CNN originally.

This is due to several factors: the economy, the time of year, but mostly its just oversupply. Dealers are overstocked, and they’re looking to clear out stuff as quickly as possible, making for some very good possible deals in the coming weeks and months out there.

Paul Gagnon, director of research at DisplaySearch stated flatly: “Manufacturers were playing a game of chicken, hoping demand would be there and reluctant to be the first one to let prices fall. Only recently did they come to the shocking realization that prices needed to fall. That will have a good impact on holiday sales.”

Black Friday this year is expected to have some of the lowest prices on LCD TVs ever, starting as low as $199 for certain 32″ models.

Black Friday Predictions: Big Bargains on the way?

September 14, 2010 by  
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50″ HDTVs for $550? 32″ LCD HDTVs for less than $200? Blu-ray players for $70 or less? Yes, all of that and more could happen this Black Friday, according to several web sites that regularly monitor such sales every year.

These are just some of the awesome deals that retailers will offer on HD-related products on Black Friday, predicts a web site that tracks retailer discounts on what has become the unofficial opening of the holiday shopping season, BlackFriday.org. We believe them, since they’ve been pretty on the mark most years up until now.

We love the deep discounts, but another rumor we’re really excited about: Blu-Ray discs selling around the $5 mark that time of year as well, which should help the medium make some inroads with penetration market wise, and bring the hi-def experience within the budget of many more people.

Eyes On Preview: LG’s LEX8 ‘Nano LED’ dazzles

September 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

We reported on this future marvel a little bit ago, and according to many blogs and reports, it is pretty amazing to look at, both in terms of bezel thinness and actual picture quality, a combo of which we’re quite fond of. Picture is courtesy of Engadget, and it shows off a mighty impressive unit we think will make a big splash when it debuts.

We always have extorted the wonders of LG on this blog, and it appears they’ve outdone themselves, if anything with this latest display. They tout the thinnest of any LCD LED TV out there right now, even if the bottom part grows ever wider with having to stuff things onto it that used to be in the back.

Still, LG’s LEX8 8.8mm thick LCD is razor thin and the picture quality with the localized “Nano LED” dimming is stellar; with many bloggers reporting the best overall sharpness of any unit at the IFA show this year.

More IFA News: Sharp releases a gaggle of new LCD TVs

September 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News, Sharp, TV Brands

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What is a gaggle exactly? A lot, we guess…anyway, IFA brought more nice new announcements as Sharp stepped forward with a slew of new Quattron HDTVs to be coming to an electronics store near you in the near future. We always love covering new stuff, so here’s the scoop via Engadget:

Just in case those George Takei commercials didn’t clue you in that Sharp was serious about Quattron, the company has announced four new TV lines at IFA sporting yellow as a fourth subpixel color. At the top of the list, the Quattron 3D-enabled LE925 line will be available in 60-inch or 46-inch sizes and feature Sharp’s proprietary high-speed FRED LCD signal processing technology along with side-mounted scanning LED backlighting — which like the LV Series — is touted to produce 1.8x better brightness than competing sets and reduce 3D crosstalk. Aquos Net+ connectivity is thrown in too, along with 2D-to-3D conversion, a digital triple tuner and 8GB of built-in flash memory for timeshift recording. Playing second fiddle to this overachiever are the 2D-only LE924E, LE824E and LE814E series, which will also feature Aquos Net+.

As with most products at this show, exact prices and release timeframes aren’t available. But this line promises some of the best specs on any recent HDTV releases.

Big Time: LG shows off OLED 31″ Prototype, blows minds

August 31, 2010 by  
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We all love OLED and its potential, but so far, its expensive and not even close to mainstream really. OLED’s failure to do anything in the mainstream isn’t a big deal, as LCD has gotten slim enough that it hardly matters in terms of reduced size. Picture quality will improve no doubt, and its nice to see some companies stepping forward with early support for the technology. LG is just such a company.

So in a twist of oddness, LG has stolen its own OLED thunder on the TV circuit lately. In line with earlier rumors we reported, it will be showing off a 0.11-inch thick 31-inch 3D OLED display prototype at the IFA get-together this week, but that poor little OLED demo will be sharing a booth with a ready for retail 0.35-inch thick LCD that comes in big time sizes above 30″, so it may not be the darling of the show many thought it might be.

Still, here’s to hoping this OLED breakthrough speeds along the transition to retail all the more quickly.

Nano Fever: New tech allows cheaper and better LCD HD screens

August 28, 2010 by  
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It seems technology waits for no man, and that applies to HDTV as well, it appears. Read on to find out why this is the case:

Pixel density enthusiasts, pay close attention, because science is ready to blow your minds — the University of Michigan has developed an LCD technology that can display their logo in a space just nine microns high. By creating a filter made of microscopic metal gratings with differently sized holes just a few hundred nanometers wide, researchers discovered they could precisely capture wavelengths associated to red, green and blue light, producing pixels roughly eight times smaller than those in the iPhone 4′s famous screen, and entire images that could practically fit inside a single dot of Kopin’s microdisplay.
What all that jargon means is clearer and sharper HD imagery at a cheaper price than ever in the long run, which is the ideal situation for companies and consumers alike. It shouldn’t be long for much of this to seep into production models near you.

Bad News: LCD HDTV prices on the rise?

August 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

According to numbers from industry suppliers and rumors flying around the web, LCD and HDTV prices could be going up slightly in the near future. It’s bad news for a time when many parts of the world are struggling financially, and people are using discretionary income less than ever.

Also: HD is just starting to gain momentum to becoming a mainstream household medium, and now due to a variety of factors (one of which is reportedly more circuits being used for 3D HDTV units, driving up the price of parts). Prices rose over 7% in July compared to June, according to iSuppli, a nationwide reporter on wholesale parts and electronic equipment.

The average price for a LCD HDTV was $1,136, but was $1,060 in June, the group said. In contrast, iSuppli said that the price of a LCD set rose only 2.8 percent in July 2009 compared to July 2008. This is considered ‘unusual’, according to them, and could signal a trend of increasing prices for awhile.

If you’ve been looking for a unit, now might be the time to strike before they rise even more.

Bundle Action: LG getting in on the 3D package act

July 12, 2010 by  
Filed under LG, Product News, TV Brands

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We reported about Sony offering their 3D bundles recently, now according to recent reports LG is getting in on the bundle action as well with their upcoming release.

Announced just today, the “1-2-3D” bundle (as its referred to) applies to all who purchase a LX9500 or LX6500 series Infinia LCD TV and LG Blu-ray 3D unit, and includes two pairs of glasses in the package as well, PLUS an instant $100 rebate and coupon for the IMAX Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray 3D disc to come with the package to round it out. It’s still not cheap, but a lot cheaper than all of these individually.

The bundle pricing is pretty much equivalent to Samsung’s package bundle, so it really comes down to which 3DTV or player you prefer, or even as basic as a question as comparing getting Monsters vs. Aliens or this IMAX film, whichever way your preferences swing.

Case Settled: HannStar to pay $30M to end LCD price fixing suit

July 5, 2010 by  
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Now that’s an expensive mistake, boys and girls. Don’t let your babies grow up to be LCD manufacturer presidents, to paraphrase a popular country song (and mangle it badly).

Taiwan-based HannStar Display agreed this week to pay a huge $30 million fine for its role in a large LCD price fixing scheme. In a disturbing trend, this makes the seventh company to “plead or agree to plead guilty as a result of the department’s investigation into the LCD industry.” Very nasty stuff, if you ask us, though we’re pretty sure all sorts of businesses do this kind of thing every day, though not as blatantly it appears.

All together, the US Department of Justice has seen some $890 million paid out and 17 executives charged in total, with HannStar in particular being singled out for violating the Sherman Act for its actions from September 2001 to January 2006, which is a very long time to have a scheme like this running and expect not to get caught.

Hopefully this marks the end of this sad chapter in HDTV history.

Wednesday’s Wacky HDTV Deals

May 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, LG, TV Brands

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It’s hump day of the week, and that means getting together enough energy to get through the week and keep your sanity. Hopefully, these amazing HDTV offers can help in some small way:

Walmart.com – Here’s a very solid offer: a Proscan 47LED55SA 47” LED LCD 1080p 120Hz HDTV for $849.00 with free shipping. LED HDTV models are really starting to come down in price, and here’s the proof.

PCConnection.com has a very nice deal on the ever-popular LG product line: the 42LH200C 42” 720p LCD TV for $599.95 with free shipping.

Check out these cool deals and join us again tomorrow for more happenings in the world of HDTV.

OLED, Printed: DuPont develops new screen technique

May 18, 2010 by  
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Right now, LG is the big OLED boy in town, with their 15-inch OLED TV, but at about $2,500 retail, not many people will have this in their living rooms, dens or wherever.

Now the promises of costs dropping thanks to ‘printed’ displays may be coming to pass, as chemical company DuPont has joined up with Dainippon Screen to fashion a printing technique that can line-feeding a 50-inch display in just two minutes or so. That’s 120 seconds to you and me, and that’s pretty exciting stuff, indeed. It’s been compared to a ‘high precision garden hose’ of the electronic persuasion, “moving” over the display’s surface and ‘printing’ the display on the screen.

DuPont Displays President William Feehery says the method is being worked on to scale it up to displays up to 50″ and will eventually be able to compete with LCD’s on cost with a 15-20 year span of life. It isn’t 100 years (as was promised by a few manufacturers) but that isn’t bad at all, folks. We’ll update you, of course, as this technology develops.

The Future is Soon: Samsung readying 42″ OLED trials in 2011?

May 16, 2010 by  
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It appears dreams of large OLED panels in the marketplace may be coming true quite soon…sooner than we even expected, if certain news sources are to be believed. Where once an 11″ panel was the biggest anyone could get, and they cost a fortune, read this story and try not to get drool on your keyboard:

Now OLEDNet claims that Samsung Mobile Display — you know, the cellphone AMOLED guys — is purchasing equipment in preparation for bringing its 5.5 generation facility on-line in the first half of 2011. That should give Samsung the ability make 42-inch AMOLED TVs on a trial basis by the end of the twenty-eleven. But with relatively cheap LCDs steadily closing the gap on OLEDs size, contrast, and power savings advantages, well, we’ll believe it when we see the first big screen OLED TVs in our living rooms.

Good point, now that technology has evolved to a point where contrast features with Plasma and LCD aren’t too far away from OLED, it isn’t the huge news many had expected it would be. We’ll see how it shakes out… if it actually happens.

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